Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weeds Will Save the World

The New York Times had an article on Sunday about weeds in the warming climate. The beginning was mostly dire. The weed ecologist Lewis Ziska has discovered that CO2 gases cause weeds to grow more abundantly, and he ponders the costs to farmers and land managers. The he indulges in a little weed love.

Still, even as he contemplated this, Ziska says he couldn’t repress a certain admiration. He traces his interest in weeds to an epiphany during his undergraduate years at the University of California at Riverside: noticing a weed springing up through a crack in the Southern California pavement, he was suddenly struck with wonder at any organism that could flourish in such a hot, dry, hostile environment.

The article gets more cheerful as it goes on. Weeds are not actually invading, they are just filling in the spaces left by plants that don't do so well in a high CO2 environment with warmer temperatures. Weeds protect the soil and are the origins of may of our cultivated crops.

Reading the article, I was reminded of a playground nearby where weeds grew in the curving cracks on the asphalt, another forbidding environment.

I love the way nature always moves in curves and branches, especially when it does it on squares.

(click for bigger)

There is moss sharing space with the weeds. I keep seeing moss on the street, it fades in the heat and springs back to life after a thunderstorm. There is a little pillow of moss near my house that has spread out over the crack in the sidewalk.

Everything is still green and fresh.

This puddle is reflecting the overhanging trees in the morning light.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

That article made me feel SO good about our back yard.